MIDDLEFIELD—With a 47-29 win over rival Berkshire on Friday, the Cardinal Huskies earned a rare trifecta during the 2018-2019 school year.
The Huskies defeated the Badgers in football, 28-8, and swept their rivals in basketball this winter.
“It feels great,” Cardinal senior Brice Hogue said of the sweep over Berkshire. “That’s our main goal every year. It feels great to beat them three times.”
Berkshire took control early as the Badgers led 9-5 after the first quarter and 19-17 at halftime.
The Badgers took advantage of Cardinal’s inability to finish at the hoop.
“We had a lot of open looks but we didn’t make them in the first half so we were down by two at halftime only scoring 17 points,” Cardinal coach Jon Cummins said. “That’s not where I wanted to be but we were only down two and we weren’t playing good basketball, so I felt pretty good about it going into the second half.”
Cummins wasn’t wrong.
The Huskies quickly took control of the game with a 16-6 run in the third quarter and they closed out the game by outscoring the Badgers in the second half, 30-10.
“In the locker room, I didn’t really give this inspiring speech,” Cummins said. “I was just telling them we didn’t make our shots so let’s just knock down our shots in the second half. We’ll be fine. We had to pick up our defense and our offense would come and it did. We held them to 10 points in the second half and a lot of it had to do with boxing out and doing the little things we didn’t do in the first half.”
Austin Miller, who finished with eight points, really turned the momentum in Cardinal’s favor when he recorded a block late in the third half.
Hogue, who finished with a game-high 13, nailed a 3-pointer on the other end to kick start a 10-0 run that carried over into the fourth quarter.
“It just kind of snowballed,” Cummins said. “You get some of your seniors playing well and the other guys buy into it. That’s what happened with Brice and other kids fed into it. We stepped up on defense and that led to our offense and easy buckets.”
Robbie Bruncak added 11 points for the Huskies and Casey Horner contributed with nine. Matt Carney and Dan Heredos finished with four and two, respectively, for the Huskies, who improved to 6-9 overall and 4-8 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
“A couple guys came off the bench and played really well,” Cummins said. “(Robbie) Granny did a nice job for us when he came in and gave us good minutes. Dan Heredos played a nice stretch even in the first half to keep our defense and the score the way it was. Austin did an excellent job for us. He controlled the boards and worked really hard. He converted on his put backs a lot of times. He was working extremely hard and was very valuable today. Brice did an excellent job on both ends of the floor too. He had to guard (Jake) Sinkenbring and had one of his best scoring nights. He also had a ton of rebounds too for a guard. He just played outstanding. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Sinkenbring led the Badgers with 11 points.
“We knew it was going to be an intense atmosphere and we wanted to limit Bruncak and Carney, like most teams try to do,” Berkshire coach Ryan Dickard said. “We did a pretty good job of that in the first half. In the second half, we were pretty shorthanded overall and just ran out of gas. We missed open shots and they took advantage of that.”
Berkshire has now lost five straight after a short hot streak to start the year. The Badgers, who started the season 0-10, won back-to-back games against Fairport Harding and Independence but played at Cardinal without sophomore standout Levi Sell and that lack of depth hurt the Badgers in the second half.
“We had a nice stretch of three games there,” Dickard said. “We won two of them and lost the other one by one and then we dipped back down to how we were in the first half of the season, but we’re still chugging along coming to practice each day, showing up, putting the effort in, putting the work in and getting better. We’ve got about a month left until the postseason starts and hopefully we’ll make a run then.”
Cardinal 47, Berkshire 29
Cardinal: Bruncak 11, Carney 4, Hogue 13, Horner 9, Miller 8, D Heredos 2
Berkshire: Czekaj 4, Bowman 2, Brown 5, Young 3, Kastor 4, Sinkenbring 11
Berkshire 9 10 6 4 – 29
Cardinal 5 12 16 14 – 47
Free throws: Home 8 of 15 Visitor 2 of 5, 3-pointers: Home 3 (Bruncak, Hogue 2) Visitor 3 (Sinkenbring, Bowman, Brown);